The Red Wheelbarrow Summary & Analysis by William Carlos Williams

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"The Red Wheelbarrow," first published in 1923, is one of American poet William Carlos Williams's most famous poems, despite being rather cryptic: it consists of a single sentence describing a red wheelbarrow, wet with rain, sitting beside some chickens. The only other information given is vague, and when speaker says that "so much depends upon" this wheelbarrow, the reader likely wonders, "What depends it, exactly?" An example of Imagist poetry, "The Red Wheelbarrow" focuses above all on conveying a precise depiction of, well, an image. However, this does not suggest that the poem lacks meaning. From the attention paid to the image of the wheelbarrow, it is possible that the speaker is observing and appreciating the everyday necessity of manual labor—or even commenting on humankind's relationship with nature.

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